Short-handed Celtics fall to Bucks 120-107
BOSTON (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points, Khris Middleton had 21 points and nine rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the short-handed Boston Celtics 120-107 on Friday night.
Tony Snell scored 15 and Thon Maker added 12 points for Milwaukee, which has won six of seven.
Kyrie Irving had 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Celtics, who were missing their top two centers and forward Marcus Morris. Milwaukee capitalized on its advantage inside all night.
Malcom Brogdon had 10 points and nine rebounds and Antetokounmpo pulled down eight boards for the Bucks, who finished with a 55-36 rebounding advantage. Boston also sent Antetokounmpo to the foul line 17 times, and he made 13 free throws.
The Celtics lost their third straight after winning eight in a row.
Jaylen Brown scored 21 for Boston. Jayson Tatum scored 20, Gordon Hayward had 11 points and and Semi Ojeleye finished with 10 points, getting the start at center with Al Horford and Aron Baynes both out with injuries.
Milwaukee dominated the first half, using a 9-0 run late in the second quarter to pull ahead by as much as 26 points.
Boston made a few runs in the second half but was never able to get the margin closer than 11.
Brown’s dunk with 9:43 left pulled Boston within 97-82, but he was called for a technical for flexing his muscles after the dunk and Brogdon made the ensuing free throw.
Brown made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 103-90, and then Rozier made a steal and started on a fast break with Hayward, who spun a layup off the backboard while drawing a foul. Hayward missed the free throw and a chance at the three-point play.
LL Cool J was sitting courtside and got a big cheer when he showed up on the monitor as his song “Mama Said Knock You Out” blasted through the public address system.
Bucks: The Bucks also out-rebounded the Celtics 31-13 in the first two periods and led 65-48 at halftime. Milwaukee shot 63 percent (12 for 19) in the first quarter and led 35-22 after one. … F Ersan Ilyasova had surgery Friday on his nose, which he broke during practice last weekend. Ilyasova, who is averaging 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, is out indefinitely.
Celtics: Morris has a sore right knee and did not dress. … Horford missed his seventh straight game with a sore left knee. … Baynes has a broken finger on his left hand. He underwent surgery on Thursday and is expected to be out four to six weeks. … Boston made a franchise-record 24 3-pointers in the first meeting, beating the Bucks 117-113 on Nov. 1.
Bucks: Visit the Miami Heat on Saturday night.
Celtics: Host the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.